Premier League – The Weekend Preview

Norwich v Chelsea – Saturday 12.45 Norwich will welcome Chelsea to Carrow Road thinking that they are coming up against a side that hasn’t exactly shone recently, of course now Drogba and Kalou are away playing in the African Cup of Nations they are potentially weaker than normal. Of course it could go the other way, perhaps Drogbas absence means that Torres is likely to get an extended run in the league and perhaps the team will be forced to adapt to playing in a way that suits him. Norwich have lost De Laet who has been sent back to his parent club early, probably due to a run of niggling injuries which has meant Norwich have not been able to rely on him as much as they would have liked.  Paul Lambert will also be rueing the absence of first choice keeper Declan Rudd who is going to be out for a couple of crucial months. This one is a tough one to call, before this season you would have automatically put a tick next to a Chelsea home win but André Villas-Boas has not been the instant success many expected and it looks as though he has an extensive rebuilding job on his hands before things will get any better, the signing of Gary Cahill who is bound to go straight into the team for this one is obviously the first step. In the end I’m taking the sensible option for this one and will not be placing a bet, Chelsea could win this or they could implode, Norwich are yet to keep a clean sheet this season and I can see over 2.5 goals being scored, then again, so can the bookies who are offering very miserly odds. Purely for the benefit of making a prediction that can be used against me later, I’m going for a draw here. Football tipster with BetAdvisorJose’s View Lets get started with the early kick off at Carrow Road between Norwich and Chelsea. Paul Lambert’s Norwich have been surprisingly enjoying life so far in the Premiership. The Canaries, who have lost just once in their last 7 league games, were many peoples tip to get relegated but their attacking style of play has surprised many people. They have scored the most goals outside of the top 5 and I think Chelsea may well be in for a tough afternoon. Chelsea on the other hand have won just 2 of their last 6 games and I think their main problem has been their lack of cutting edge in front of goal, they have only scored more than 2 goals in win of their last 6 games. New signing Gary Cahill is expected to start the game from the bench. My selection here is to lay Chelsea at a very tempting price. Everton v Blackburn – Saturday 15.00 Everton are a side in need of investment, that’s no shock to anyone, David Moyes will probably have had a shock when he looks at Yakubus scoring record this season, he was given plenty of chances before being shipped out of the club and now he’s one of the top goalscorers in the league. Blackburn have been forced to rely on some younger players to get them out of the hole they find themselves in and it’s been working to an extent, last week win against Fulham means they are currently out of the bottom 3 but with a thin squad and half the season to go, it would take a very brave man to bet on them lasting the course and staying up. Everton, as usual have a solid squad but they lack sparkle, there is plenty of promise in young Ross Barkley and I’m sure other clubs have their eye on him, I understand Everton have already had to fend off bids for the youngster.  Unfortunately he’s likely to be out until the end of the month so Everton will just have to make do with what they have, which currently is not a lot, they have 7 first teamers on the injury list and not the deepest of squads to fill those spots. With all of that in mind, Everton are ridiculously short odds at 1.53 with Bet365 to win this which almost puts me in laying mode, instead I’m going to just go for the draw here at odds of 4 with several bookies. Football tipster with BetAdvisorJose’s View Will the Toffees come unstuck against a resurgent Blackburn? Not in my book, sorry for the pun! Everton have not been in great form but I just think home advantage against a Blackburn side with only the one away win in 10 will be enough to see this one out. This is the sort of game that manager David Moyes will be telling his boys they simply have to go and win. Everton win for me.   Fulham v Newcastle – Saturday 15.00 The Toon Fulham are coming off the back of a defeat to lowly Blackburn and Newcastle find half of their strike force are away in Africa, including new signing Papiss Demba Cissé, with Tioté also away and Cabaye possibly injured, Newcastle are going to have to rely on less regular players to get them through this game. Fulham don’t have as many injury worries but they do have a couple of crucial concerns, mainly veteran keeper Mark Schwarzer and Moussa Dembélé both out until early February. I have no facts and figures to base my prediction on but I’m going for a Fulham victory here,  I won’t be putting any money on it but something tells me that Newcastle will struggle to deal with Danny Murphys passing and Zamora will put one away. Football tipster with BetAdvisorJose’s View Many people though Newcastle would struggle losing Demba Ba and Cheik Tiote to the African Nations but thats simply not been the case with 2 wins out of 2. Both those victories came at home though and this is a completely different proposition at The Cottage. Fulham were hugely disappointing last time out away to Blackburn but they did see off Arsenal at home just before that game and I think a repeat performance somewhere near that level will be enough to take all 3 points. Fulham win.   QPR v Wigan – Saturday 15.00 I think this will be my game of choice when I sit down on Saturday to watch a match, on one hand we have a team being rebuilt in midseason by Mark Hughes and if Henrique has permission to play it will be very interesting to see if he is pitched straight in, on the other bench will be Roberto Martinez who rigidly sticks to his principles even though it has consistently brought results that could have got other managers the sack. After last weeks little rant at QPR, I’ve calmed down and this week I’m going to tip them to get all three points in this match, the odds aren’t great at 2.1 but that’s about as generous as you’re going to get for a home team facing Wigan I feel. Football tipster with BetAdvisorJose’s View Doesn’t exactly get your excitement levels raised when you look at this fixture does it? When we look at the stats both sides have a hell of a lot of L’s next to their name indicating their complete lack of form. I just think the Mark Hughes factor, having now been with the side for over a week, will come into play. Both sides are lacking in front of goal and for me its a 1-0 win to QPR. I won’t be having a bet in this one though for obvious reasons.   Stoke v West Brom – Saturday 15.00 This match for me is wholly uninspiring, I’m no fan of Stokes style of play but West Brom haven’t exactly set the league alight this season, there has been the occasional good performance and Shane Long has been a good addition to the league but I’m yet to see anything that makes me get on the edge of my seat and will them onto a win. So, in a game between two sides that will be more attritional than attractive,  the only result I can see is a draw. Odds at 3.5 are available but I won’t be putting any money on it. Football tipster with BetAdvisorJose’s View Stoke have just one defeat in 9 and that was against leaders Man City, they came away with a creditable draw last time out away at Liverpool. The greatest pub team in the world are organised, hard to break down and do score goals. WBA on the other hand do not score goals, 1 goal in their last 4 league games will not gain you any plaudits and will drag you into a relegation scrap. 3 losses on the bounce and I can sense another one here. Stoke win.   Sunderland v Swansea – Saturday 15.00 The SwansThere really are no easy games this weekend and this is another one that could go either way. Martin O’Neill has certainly got his lot organised and galvanised for the matches ahead, with 4 wins out of his last 6 matches, his start at Sunderland has been impressive. I’m not sure if it’s impressive as bringing Swansea up from the Championship, spending very little, sticking to a style of play that is open and expansive and getting up to 10th place in the league,  Brendan Rodgers deserves a lot of praise for the work he has done at Swansea and whilst I’m sure the manager of the year award will go to the manager of whoever wins the league this season, for me, he’s a front runner for the alternative choice. I’m enjoying watching Swansea and they seem to have added some goals to their play recently so I’m going to plump for a Swansea win at 4.75 with Stan James. Football tipster with BetAdvisorJose’s View Exciting game in prospect at The Stadium Of Light as Swanselona ride into town. They way Swansea keep possesion given the players on the teamsheet is just unreal, Brendan Rodgers is the next big thing in the Premier League and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a top top club sniffing round him. Having said that Sunderland have their own hero in Martin O Neill and this is going to be a very tight game. Two tactical genuises going head to head, this game could be won in the dressing room. I’m going to side with a home win here, The Mackems were unlucky not to get something last weekend at Chelsea and I think they can put that right here and come away with the 3 points against a very pacy and organised Swansea side. Wolverhampton Wanderers v Aston Villa – Saturday 15.00 The VillainsWolves will not want to lose another Midlands derby so soon after going out of the Cup to Birmingham, this game means a lot to the fans and it’s impossible to believe that doesn’t filter through to even the most pampered and spoilt Premier League footballer. Stephen Ireland has started to show the kind of ability that explains why Villa laid out so much money for him, it’s about time to be fair, will he have it in him to display his talents in the middle of a heated derby?  I guess we’ll find out. Wolves have enough about them to cause most sides problems, pace on the wings, power up front and some experience at the back, they just need to up their consistency and they should be fine. I can see this one ending in a draw but I’ll stick to my usual rules and not bet on a derby match. Football tipster with BetAdvisorJose’s View Boring Midlands derby in prospect here? Yep I think so. I watched Wolves midweek against Birmingham and they looked more like a Championship side which is where they could be heading unless they start grinding out results. No wins in their last 7 league games relegation is staring them straight in the face. Aston Villa, very inconsitent, win at Chelsea and then get beat at home to Swansea. I fancy a draw here between two very average sides.   Bolton v Liverpool – Saturday 17.30 AnfieldBoth of these sides need the points but for very different reasons, Bolton need to get as many points on the board in their struggle against relegation, Liverpool need to get back into gear if they wish to finish in one of the top four spots this season. Bolton may have lost Cahill but in my opinion his sale could later be seen as the deal that keeps Bolton in the league, his sale will have freed up some transfer funds that I’m fairly sure Owen Coyle will use wisely to bulk up his squad and inject a bit of much needed pace and bite. Liverpool, it seems, are also looking to get into the transfer market, it seems that the purchases of Suarez and Carroll last January haven’t been enough to solve their goalscoring problems and now they are looking to pick up one of Jermaine Defoe or Darren Bent.  I think they have a point, this Liverpool side with a Robbie Fowler or Michael Owen type figure would not be strugglign as they are, a goal poacher would make a massive difference to their side. This is another draw for me but I made my money on Liverpool last week so I’ll be looking elsewhere to actually place my money. Football tipster with BetAdvisorJose’s View I can sense a war about to break out here at The Reebok Stadium. Bolton are fighting for their lives at the foot of the Premiership against a Liverpool side with only 1 win in their last 5 games. I can’t believe how short a price Liverpool are when you consider their main goalscorer Luis Suarez is out of the game. No goals in their last 2 PL games show where there main weakness lies and for me laying Liverpool is a sensible option at the price on offer.   Manchester City v Tottenham – Sunday 13.30 This is the first of two matches featuring a Manchester side against a North London side and neither of them are easy to call. Manchester City have the stronger squad on paper but they seem to have hit a small blip in form and it’s been accompanied by suspensions and player absences for various other reasons. Tottenham have a squad full of bright talent and bristling with pace but they are really going to miss Adebayor as their focal point for this match. Much will depend on whether Ledley King is going to be fit in time to play in this match,  his presence can often be worth a point in itself, Tottenhams defensive record is markedly different when the club captain is on the pitch. I do not bet on Tottenham matches as a general rule but I can see the points going to the home side here. Football tipster with BetAdvisorJose’s View We move into Sundays games in what is looking like one of the most exciting days in the Premier League so far this season. 1st against 3rd here as the title race moves up a gear, I think City have looked much lesser side without the likes of Kompany, Toure and Balotelli out of the side and I can see Spurs looking to take full advantage of the weakened team. Spurs big loss is Adebayor who is ineligible for this fixture as he’s currently on loan from City, Jermain Defoe will be looking to put down a marker for a regular starting spot. I can see this game ending in a draw and I fancy there will be a few goals. 2-2.   Arsenal v Manchester United – Sunday 17.30 The Red DevilsThe second in Sundays North London v Manchester match ups and this one is no easier to call, if it hadn’t been for Uniteds big win against Arsenal earlier in the season then I would have no hesitation in calling this game in their favour, as it is, Arsenal will be looking to set the record straight and show that result was just a blip. The midfield battle could be interesting here, Arsenal have the more mobile players, schooled in keeping the ball moving and keeping possession, Manchester United have been forced to bring back Paul Scholes, seven months after he retired in an attempt to reinstall some class and confidence into the middle of their side, they have talent up front, at the back and on the flanks, of that there is no doubt but a soft centre will always give you problems. As anyone who follows this blog will know,  I’m notoriously bad at picking a winner involving Arsenal games so clearly this is a no bet game for me,  I will put my neck on the chopping block and go with an Arsenal win though. Football tipster with BetAdvisorJose’s View Manchester United should be too strong here against one of the worst Arsenal back four’s in recent times. They simply cant defend 1 clean sheet in 6 will back this up, Per Mertesacker is far too slow for the pace of the Premier League and I expect United to take full advantage of Arsenal’s frailties. United win.]]>